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10.1 The if Statement

The if statement is Octave's decision-making statement. There are three basic forms of an if statement. In its simplest form, it looks like this:

 
if (condition)
  then-body
endif

condition is an expression that controls what the rest of the statement will do. The then-body is executed only if condition is true.

The condition in an if statement is considered true if its value is non-zero, and false if its value is zero. If the value of the conditional expression in an if statement is a vector or a matrix, it is considered true only if it is non-empty and all of the elements are non-zero.

The second form of an if statement looks like this:

 
if (condition)
  then-body
else
  else-body
endif

If condition is true, then-body is executed; otherwise, else-body is executed.

Here is an example:

 
if (rem (x, 2) == 0)
  printf ("x is even\n");
else
  printf ("x is odd\n");
endif

In this example, if the expression rem (x, 2) == 0 is true (that is, the value of x is divisible by 2), then the first printf statement is evaluated, otherwise the second printf statement is evaluated.

The third and most general form of the if statement allows multiple decisions to be combined in a single statement. It looks like this:

 
if (condition)
  then-body
elseif (condition)
  elseif-body
else
  else-body
endif

Any number of elseif clauses may appear. Each condition is tested in turn, and if one is found to be true, its corresponding body is executed. If none of the conditions are true and the else clause is present, its body is executed. Only one else clause may appear, and it must be the last part of the statement.

In the following example, if the first condition is true (that is, the value of x is divisible by 2), then the first printf statement is executed. If it is false, then the second condition is tested, and if it is true (that is, the value of x is divisible by 3), then the second printf statement is executed. Otherwise, the third printf statement is performed.

 
if (rem (x, 2) == 0)
  printf ("x is even\n");
elseif (rem (x, 3) == 0)
  printf ("x is odd and divisible by 3\n");
else
  printf ("x is odd\n");
endif

Note that the elseif keyword must not be spelled else if, as is allowed in Fortran. If it is, the space between the else and if will tell Octave to treat this as a new if statement within another if statement's else clause. For example, if you write

 
if (c1)
  body-1
else if (c2)
  body-2
endif

Octave will expect additional input to complete the first if statement. If you are using Octave interactively, it will continue to prompt you for additional input. If Octave is reading this input from a file, it may complain about missing or mismatched end statements, or, if you have not used the more specific end statements (endif, endfor, etc.), it may simply produce incorrect results, without producing any warning messages.

It is much easier to see the error if we rewrite the statements above like this,

 
if (c1)
  body-1
else
  if (c2)
    body-2
  endif

using the indentation to show how Octave groups the statements. See section Functions and Scripts.


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